My Garden This Weekend

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After a slow start this weekend has been wonderful for working in the garden.  I would say pottering but I think my idea of pottering isn’t the same as others.  Saturday was a wash out which is fine as we needed the rain.  I went to the HPS garden club meeting and amazingly I didn’t buy anything possibly because I have been feeling a little jaded recently but also probably because most of the plants were summer flowering perennials which I really don’t have much space for at the moment.  Because my youngest had come home from University on Friday I was keen to spend some time with him so I forgo the afternoon talk which after all was on Heleniums, not a subject I am particularly interested in.

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As my neighbours have gone off on their annual holiday the first job on Sunday was to get the beech hedge between our properties cut; so that was Sunday morning gone.  But in the afternoon I got to play.  The Hardy Exotic Border has been my project this year and I have been adding plants to it over the last few months.  Today I added a Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum), Blechnum spicant and Arisaema consanguineum.  I think the this area is now full in fact, as in many other bits of the garden, I suspect it is overfull and in a year’s time I will be editing it but for now I am happy with the effect.

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The Hardy Exotic Border tapers down into a shady and narrower part of the slope.  This has snowdrops and narcissus in but also bluebells which have turned out to be a mistake as the long leaves smoother the epimediums and emerging ferns and I love these far more than the bluebells.  So I continued along the border digging up the bluebell bulbs which will be planted somewhere else out of the way.  I relocated a hosta and some geraniums and now the border is predominantly epimediums, ferns and arisaema; in this case Arisaema speciosum.  These poor plants have been moved from the old bog garden since firstly I was worrying it was too damp for them and secondly you can’t see the flower spathes unless you lie on the floor.  I am hoping the slope will be more suitable to them and it should make it easier to see the flower spathes next year.

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Having relocated the Arisaema I had space finally to plant the new Cardiocrinum giganteum.  I bought the bulb at the Malvern Spring Show and it has been in a large pot on the patio getting taller and taller.  I don’t know if it will flower and if it does I think it might be monocarpic so that will be that but I have been trying to grow one for years so I am quite excited at the prospect.  The old Bog Garden (top photo) is looking quite good now a real mix of ferny textures with the odd big leaf from the Cardicocrinum and another large-leaved plant whose name escapes me.

A most satisfying day spent pottering in what is quickly becoming my favourite part of the garden.

Posted in bog garden, Foliage, garden, gardening, June, My Garden, My garden this weekend, The Slope (incl Daisy Border), Woodland border | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Taking the Plunge

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I decided finally the other week that I wanted to use the greenhouse more for my alpine and bulbs.  I have lots of pots of bulbs and they are currently stored under the staging in the greenhouse with the aim of them drying out over the summer.  However, I have read that plunging the pots in sand is very beneficial.  It is particularly good for plants that don’t like their roots too wet.

The new staging arrived the other day sooner than I expected which meant a chaotic couple of hours which the staging was assembled and plants moved around.  I hadn’t really thought about such simple things as how you fill the plunges but strangely it turned out to be more involved than I had thought.

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If you just tip the sand into the plunge it really doesn’t work and you don’t get the neat appearance you see in alpine houses.  It turns out you have to fill the plunge with a few inches of sand and then compact it with something like a brick.  Then you carry on doing this layer by layer until the plunge is full. This makes the sand bind together and means that when you cut the holes out for the pots the sand doesn’t collapse.  Having typed this it does sound a little OCD but it does work and it is strangely satisfying!

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I have struggled to find information about setting up a plunge bed; no doubt the audience is a little limited.  However, I came across a wonderful resource on the Alpine Garden Society website – The Wisley Diary.  This was written from 2007 – 2012 by Paul Cumbleton the head of the Alpine section at Wisley.  Of course reading such articles is like signing up to the council of perfection but I suppose it’s a starting point.  Paul advocated laying out your pots in advance so they aren’t crowded and it looks neat.  Anyway, it was quite entertaining a bit like making sand castles but in reverse.

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Of course having filled the plunge with my alpines I realised that part of the plan was to accommodate the pots of bulbs! So these are still in the trays under the staging but the plan is now to move them into the plunge as they are coming into flower.

I have no idea if I am doing things right but it seems to me that the only way to learn is to have a go and see what happens.  Seeing the plunge full of alpines makes me smile and I have a suspicion that this is the beginning of a slippery slope.  The only obstacle is space for more frames, although there is a plan fermenting in my mind.

Posted in Alpines, garden, gardening, Greenhouse, June, Months, My Garden, Plants | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Wordless Wednesday 25/6/14 – Roses

Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

Rose 'Jude the Obscure'

Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Rosa 'Chinatown'

Rosa ‘Chinatown’

Rosa Handel

Rosa Handel

Rosa 'Eyes for You'

Rosa ‘Eyes for You’

Posted in garden, June, Photography, Roses, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My Garden This Weekend – 22nd June 2014

Cautleya spicata

Cautleya spicata

I’m not really a summer person nor for that matter a winter person.  I am much happier in spring and autumn as I prefer the weather and the way nature changes so dramatically during these seasons. I have found in recent years that around this time of year I start to lose interest in the garden and it becomes more of a chore than an enjoyment. Strange I know given all the work I put in to make the garden look lovely.  In the past this has bothered me but this year I am accepting my eccentricities and enjoying more of my other interests.

Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)

Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)

Instead of spending the day gardening I am spending an hour or so in the evenings or earlier during the day and then retreating indoors or sitting reading in the garden and I have to say that I am realising that this is far so enjoyable than my usual manic approach to things.  Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

This weekend has been wonderful and refreshing.  I had no plans to be any where or to do anything.  I spent some time on Saturday cutting back early summer perennials such as Aquilegia and planting out, somewhat belatedly, a few annuals.  I have little space for annuals now and I don’t think I will even bother sowing them next year as it has become quite a challenge finding homes for them.

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I am fascinated with how the geraniums have grown taller up amongst the other perennials rather than low and floppy.  I am sure that someone who knows more than I do about geraniums will say that it depends on the cultivar you are growing however I am sure that some of these geraniums weren’t as tall last year.

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I think this is what you might call ‘cheek by jowl’ gardening and I doubt it is sustainable going forward especially when you think I only planted the border up last year and this spring.  I am determined not to diminish the impact of the border by over jealous tidying and thinning, my usual approach, so will need to practice a more measured approach.

Anthemis tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandise'

Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandise’

2014_06220012Today I potted up some of the perennial seedlings.  I have decided not to propagate so much in future.  I have found that as with so much in my life at the moment I over commit and under-estimate my time and so I have pots of seedlings needing sorting out and if I don’t get on with them the seedlings go leggy and die making the whole process pointless.  So the plan is now to concentrate on what I have and be more selective in the future – hopefully I will stick to this resolution.

Then another hour was spent sorting out plants to enter into the AGS show in a couple of weeks time.  I find sitting and carefully picking over a plant, removing old or damaged leaves and flowers very relaxing.  I am hoping to enter six classes in the Novice section and I have thirteen plants potted up and ready to choose from.  Ideally you want plants that are in flower, unless of course it is a foliage category, and I so I am hoping with a range to choose from I will get lucky.

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Aside from gardening I have had a happy time finishing off a sewing project, reading and knitting and enjoying the view from the patio.

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Posted in Big border, Cottage Garden Border, garden, gardening, June, My Garden, My garden this weekend | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Roman Blind Project

Originally posted on Nellie Makes:

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I could start this post by saying its ages since I posted etc etc but I hate that so I won’t instead I will show you one of the projects I have completed this weekend – The Roman Blind.  I think it needs capitals as it became a bit of a cause celebre in my house and I am sure both my sons are pleased that it is finally completed and they don’t have to listen to me on the subject of ‘The Roman Blind’.

I have said before on this blog that in my late teens I used to make my own clothes including complex designer Vogue patterns without a second thought but with age and a loss of confidence for reasons I won’t bore you with I find myself struggling at time to believe that the project will turn out as I imagine it in my head.  I…

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Product Review: Sophie Conran for Burgon & Ball

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I am always hesitant to review products but my interest was piqued when I was asked if I would consider reviewing a produce from the new Sophie Conran range for Burgon & Ball.  I was particularly interested in the indoor watering can.

I have an increasing collection of houseplants and it always seems such a performance watering them especially as some are quite high on shelves and when the water level in the can is getting low I find myself reaching up very awkwardly.   Therefore, I have been looking for a watering can with a long spout for sometime, although admittedly a little halfheartedly.  The Burgon & Ball watering can comes with the required long spout and the balance between the body of the can, the handle and the spout seems to be just right for reaching up to those awkwardly placed plants.

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I also like the appearance of the watering can.  It is hardly surprising given Sophie Conran’s pedigree that the look of the can is so appealing.  I like the pale blue colour, although I question the dark grey option I think another pastel would be more appealing to a wider audience.  The information with the watering can says that it has been designed to go on a window sill and it is certainly the right size to do this and look good so no more finding cupboard space for an awkwardly shaped object.

The retail price on the web-site is £14.95 which I think is very reasonable for a metal, but lightweight, attractive watering can that actually works – not something I can say about some of the other watering cans I have bought for the houseplants.

The Sophie Conran range covers all the usual suspects for smaller gardening tools and I think many would make excellent presents for gardening friends and family as they are just so attractive.

Posted in Product Testing, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Greenhouse Year – June 2014

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This side of the greenhouse looks quite good.  I have spent an hour or so this evening moving the last of the succulents out onto the outside staging and moving all the pots of bulbs into the greenhouse.  They are stored under the staging and on the back shelves with the intention they will dry out in the summer.

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This side is slightly more disorganised.  There are seedlings which need looking after, young aloes that need potting up and other pots that need a new home.

They need a new home as I have decided to replace the slatted staging with some plunge propagation staging.  I will then fill this with sand and use it for my alpines and bulbs.  I have been umming and arhing about this for months thinking there was no way I could accommodate all my interests and where would I sow seeds etc.  However, I have realised this year that my interest in growing annuals is more or less non-existent and most of the plants I grow from seed need the cold to germinate.

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It will take some careful organising and balancing of the needs of different types of plants but I think it will work.  I should also have room to overwinter my pelargoniums and other tender plants.  Hopefully by the time I write the July Greenhouse Year post the new staging will be in place.

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The tall bulbous plants are Peruvian daffodils (Hymenocallis festalis).  This is their second year and I am hoping that the flowers are as wonderful as last year.  I only saw them as they were going over as they flowered when I was away in San Francisco.

So that’s my greenhouse mid June still full and busy and not a tomato plant in sight!

 

 

Posted in Alpines, Bulbs, gardening, Greenhouse, June, Plants | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments